Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.

Smart Buying

New Database Will Alert Shoppers to Safety Hazards

Protect yourself with this helpful tool

Starting in March, shoppers will be able to use a searchable public database to find safety complaints about products they're thinking of buying. And product owners will be able to share any safety-related problems quickly. Visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission's new site. Manufacturers will see complaints before they're published and can dispute them or respond online. The turnaround from initial complaint to inclusion in the database will be a maximum of 15 business days.

Previously, the CPSC needed manufacturers' input before communicating consumer complaints to the public, and that was often a lengthy back-and-forth process that essentially limited online safety information to recall notices. The CPSC doesn't guarantee the accuracy of the reports in the new database. But the site will have safeguards to ensure integrity -- including a fairly detailed complaint form, meant to weed out disgruntled gripers from those with real safety concerns.